Here's my illustration entry for the recent New England Writers' Centre Illustration Prize Competition, on the theme of 'A Fun Day Out'. The brief was to create an illustration suitable for a children's picture book.
On Saturday 30 June at The Children's Bookshop Beecroft, a fun double-book launch took place hosted by wonderful Paul Macdonald. This featured a new edition of The Fastest Ship in Space by Pamela Freeman, for which I created the illustrations, and The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock by debut author (and Pamela's husband) Stephen Hart, with illustrations by Kathy Creamer.
A great turn out was on hand to hear Cassandra Gold's beautiful words launch Stephen's time-slip novel, followed by Christmas Press Publisher Sophie Masson's launch of Pamela's exciting space novel.
Today I had the pleasure of presenting at an inner city Sydney school, Bridge Road School, which is doing wonderful things for local K-6 kids.
I was appearing as a Books in Homes Role Model as a writer/illustrator at their Book Giving Assembly and had fun showing the students some of my illustrations, especially those inspired by books. Then, it was time to help hand out the wonderful bags of brand new books organised by Books in Homes and their program sponsor, and to see the excited children exploring what was inside their own bag.
Fostering a love of reading and books is a gift for life!
Pelting rain, hail, thunder and lightning (and even a wayward pigeon) did not dampen the spirits and excitement of the students at St Joseph's. Part of a group of fellow CBCA writer members, it was a treat to present at this school near the beach and I enjoyed explaining my illustration process for Sophie Masson's spy novel, Jack of Spades. The girls and boys were wonderfully responsive and engaged, as was evidenced by the enthusiastic line queueing afterwards for book sales!
Both Jack of Spades and the new edition of The Fastest Ship in Space by Pamela Freeman, were snapped up by eager readers.
Bienvenue à Sydney! Wonderful to see the gorgeous The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries being exhibited at the AGNSW. I've now had the joy and privilege of seeing them three times over the past 30 years or so, twice at the fascinating Musée de Cluny in Paris. Great to linger again and admire the intricate details and amazing 3D effects incorporated into the design and weave. Such craftsmanship for the medieval age...
I love the detailed plants and the creatures, especially the collection of rabbits, many of them with personalities and emotions.
Come along to the launch of The Fastest Ship in Space, at The Children's Bookshop Beecroft on Saturday 30 June 4.00pm. It's going to be a fun double book launch with The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock and a chance to meet authors Pamela Freeman and Stephen Hart, along with illustrators myself and Kathy Creamer.
Very excited to announce that the new edition of Pamela Freeman's middle-grade novel The Fastest Ship in Space has gone to the printers and will be released shortly! I created the cover and internal illustrations for this wonderful action packed adventure story.
So thrilled to announce that I've recently signed a contract with Armidale Publisher Little Pink Dog Books to create a wonderful new picture book Lola and Grandpa with author Ashling Kwok. Already having fun brainstorming my illustrations! Visit www.LIttlePinkDogBooks.com for more information.
Very excited to announce that a brand new edition of Pamela Freeman's adventure novel, The Fastest Ship in Space is soon to be released in May. I've created the front cover and internal illustrations for this fun middle-grade novel. Here's a sneak preview of one of my images!
Sophie Masson's blog, Feathers of the Firebird features a post written by me today, in her new series called '2017 Book Discovery'.
I discovered a fascinating book this year, Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson, a gripping read about real-life modern day divers, who are passionate to the point of obsession, about undersea diving and searching for sunken treasure.
I love to travel and enjoy reading travel memoirs from exotic locations, so Pirate Hunters was the perfect book to take away with me on a recent beach holiday. I gazed out to sea and imagined what sunken galleons and buried history might be waiting to be discovered...
A great review by Merle Morcom in the latest issue of Good Reading Magazine of A Christmas Menagerie.
'Christmas is a wonderful time to give a gift of a special book to a child. A Christmas Menagerie...is just that sort of book.'
A Christmas Menagerie would make a great stocking-filler!
Just participated in a very useful SCBWI webinar with author/illustrator Arree Chung. Arree was focussing on the process and reason for creating Dummy Books in developing picture books. He finds the process of creating 'dummies' enables him to refine and develop his initial story ideas and as he says, 'turn ideas into something real'.
A 'dummy' narrows your focus and helps you to see problems earlier, in either your manuscript or your illustrations or both. Arree recommended the 'creating a dummy process' even for writers without illustration skills, and encouraged everyone to have a go.
It was fascinating to see his process through developing his recent picture book 'Mixed' and how important the dummy book was in that creation.
On 21 October I took part in the Comics Stripped Bare Series of webinars hosted by Comics Mastermind, this time with the fabulous Colleen Doran.
What a great webinar - Colleen spoke of her creative process behind the creation of her graphic Novel, Troll Bridge, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's short story.
Colleen shared her tips on developing illustrations, character and the reasons behind her creative choices, along with some great digital tips. It was lovely to hear that she still prefers to work initially with hand-drawn work on paper, before moving to digital finishing and that she feels the 'hand in art' is still very important for her - that 'human element'.
When considering the elements to put into an illustration, Colleen suggests to ask yourself what can you bring to the illustrations, that hasn't already been put on the page with the script - to 'expand the prose'. Also to think about the emotional impact and try to create a more 3D character.
Lots of food for thought!
The recent CBCA Northern Sydney Sub-branch meeting included guest publishers Claire Hallifax of Scholastic/Omnibus and Chren Byng of HarperCollins. These two wonderful children's and YA publishers were interviewed by author Louise Park, during a fascinating question and answer Publishing Panel session at Chatswood Library. There was a capacity crowd of eager, enthusiastic writers, illustrators and librarians all hanging off every word!
The two publishers discussed what they're looking for in manuscripts, how many new authors and illustrators they take on each year, whether social media is helpful, and where they find new creators. Again, the publishers emphasised not to write to the latest fad, but to write from the heart - and that is ultimately what will speak to them.
Some great tips - Claire said to think of a picture book as an 'audio-visual medium' and 'practice, practice...' your writing. Chren recommended reading your work aloud, especially picture book texts, and even better, to get someone else to read your work aloud...
After the Publisher Panel, the meeting continued with a round up of recent CBCA-run events, included the fun Authors in the Hills and the very successful Lunch with the Stars at St Patrick's Seminary Manly. The meeting ended with the latest 'Book Babies' being shared by proud writers and illustrators - including me, with my latest, A Christmas Menagerie (Christmas Press), for which I created colour illustrations.
Clever Wombat illustrations (A Christmas Menagerie, Christmas Press)
On 12 October, I took part in another Creators on Craft Webinar offered by the ASA, this time with wonderful illustrator Ann James. Ann talked to us about working as an illustrator and how to improve and enhance our art portfolios. I particularly loved one of her insights - 'let the line breathe', when colouring illustrations.
A Christmas Menagerie books have arrived! The book looks gorgeous and my illustrations came out well for Janeen Brian's story 'Clever Wombat'. The books will be available in November.
I had fun creating the illustrations for Clever Wombat written by Janeen Brian, one of the entertaining illustrated stories included in Christmas Press' upcoming A Christmas Menagerie, soon to be released. Look out for my illustrations in this Anthology for the festive season!
Christmas Press' 2017 gorgeous Christmas Anthology, A Christmas Menagerie, is now at the printers and will be available in November! My illustrations for Janeen Brian's story, Clever Wombat, feature in this collection of entertaining illustrated tales for young readers.
I was asked by Susanne Gervay to write about my experience being 'snapped up' by Author and Publisher Sophie Masson (Christmas Press) at the SCBWI Sydney Conference 2016. Hope this encourages other pre-published and emerging writers and illustrators to keep plugging on! (My article can be read in full at https://scbwiaustralianz.com post of 5 March 2017.)
Kids Book Review writes: 'Sophie Masson is a champion at weaving intrigue and adventure with strong, memorable characters and a touch of romance.' (19/4/17)Read More